Gays, single parents face housing bias

Aug. 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A study in British Columbia found single parents and gay couples face discrimination when attempting to secure rental housing.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia say their study focusing on the Metro Vancouver housing market found same-sex male couples are nearly 25 percent more likely to be rejected by landlords seeking renters, while single parents are approximately 15 percent more likely to be rejected.

"Vancouver has a reputation for tolerance of diversity in North America and a vibrant gay community," lead author Nathanael Lauster, a professor in UBC's Department of Sociology, said. "This means that housing discrimination levels may even be higher in other cities."

The study was based on responses to e-mail inquiries about one- and two-bedroom apartment vacancies advertised on popular online housing Web sites such as Craigslist.

The inquiries sent by researchers were identical except for minor variations by five family types: heterosexual couples, same-sex male couples, same-sex female couples, single mother with child and single father with child.

In a UBC release Friday Lauster said more work is needed to ensure landlords and renters are aware that discrimination by sexual preference or family relationship is illegal in Canada.

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